Hi, hello, welcome! Since this blog has been severely neglected, I thought a nice introduction might be just the ticket. Changes are happening around here. And later this year I’m celebrating my fifth year as a business owner! I’d be lying if I said I can’t believe it has been that long. It has certainly been five long-ish years of hard work, gumption, growth, challenges, patience (which I am so not good at), but so much more joy than I could have imagined.
My story as a business owner really started when I met my husband, Andrew. He is from a small town in Western Kansas and I am from Overland Park, in Kansas City. When Andrew and I met, we were both students at K-State in Manhattan, Kansas (2 hours west of KC). I was 19 and had plans to be an event planner. During college, I racked up many internships, planning events large and small, and participated in our college’s event planning board, which arranged for concerts, community events, Friday night events and more for our University.
Image by Claire Ryser
Andrew comes from a long-time family business background. After he graduated, he went back to work for his family’s business for a year before he moved back to Manhattan to live closer to me until I graduated. Flash forward to the week of my college graduation. I had a new public relations degree, engagement ring and job offer in communications. Whirlwind of a week, I tell ‘ya! My then-fiance, Andrew, already had an IT/web design business established in our college town of Manhattan. Pre-Andrew, I had plans to move back to Kansas City and work in event planning. But with Andrew’s established business, we made the decision together that I would accept the position and stay in Manhattan. I worked in communications for 2 years, but at more times than I would like to admit a little bit unhappy at my desk job. The company, position and especially the people were wonderful. But I wasn’t being challenged, and I definitely wasn’t being creative. Which looking back, my brain, body and happiness thrive on creativity. What truly fueled me during those years was what I did in the evenings and weekends: lettering.
My work circa 2012. Progress is so sweet, friends!
Once we were engaged, my dormant obsession/hobby of hand lettering took full force. I ready calligraphy blogs (yes, I did! This was pre-Instagram), glued my eyes to Pinterest, and practiced my new found craft. I soon after started an Etsy shop with things like envelope calligraphy, tattoo designs (who knew?!), gift tags and more. Because why not? While Etsy was super popular, it also wasn’t quite as overloaded with calligraphy back in 2011. I DIY-ed all of the envelopes, signage, and special touches for our wedding. Looking back on my work then, I cringe-slash-laugh. Those pieces were kind of horrid, and I spelled assignments wrong on our seating chart (WHAT! This will forever haunt me), but they will forever be among the most special I will ever create. They were for our best day, and they lit a fire in me that hasn’t been put out since.
Image by Claire Ryser. My signage from our wedding circa 2012.
Andrew and I got married on a beautiful fall day in Kansas City in 2012. I was insane. I was worrying about the heaters, and the cake, and the flowers, and that bar signage I forgot to make (!) all on our wedding day. Because, as an aspiring wedding planner, I simply couldn’t hire a day-of coordinator. Oh, 23-year-old Lauren, how terribly wrong you were. The day was a whirlwind of pretty, with an outdoor dance, and my favorite piece of clothing I’ll ever own. And my favorite guy.
Image by Claire Ryser
The day after we returned home from our honeymoon, we drove about an hour to adopt up our sweet Wheatie Terrier, Bear. (Can you tell that when I have my heart set on something, I can’t not make it happen? It’s a blessing and a curse.)
Image by Wrenn Bird Photography
After returning from our honeymoon, when the high of planning our wedding settled down, I knew I had to make a change. Just a couple short weeks later, Andrew built my website and I officially launched my wedding planning business. Co-workers, acquaintances, even family and friends were apprehensive, but I really didn’t care. I started to get out there on social media, and started to get calls. There were no other wedding planners in this semi-small city at the time (again, what?!), so I was able to start sitting down with potential clients soon after. I told them (I kid you not – I said this!) that no one would work harder for them than I would. I really put it all out on the line. And work hard I did.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
Images by Wrenn Bird Photography